Legislative Responses to Ferguson

As one reviews the early bill filings, patterns emerge. A number of bills have been filed seeking to address the controversy surrounding recent events in Ferguson.

Video Cameras: Several bills require police officers and police vehicles to be equipped with video cameras with microphones.  HB 39 is an example of these proposals. In order to fund this equipment, one bill-HB 75-imposes a one-cent sales tax on each sale of a handgun and ammunition.

Training of Police Officers: HB 51 creates the Community Relations Training Program for Peace Officers within the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The bill would require training of police officers in diversity, sensitivity and cultural competency.

Investigations of Police Officer-Involved Deaths: Legislation such as HB 62 requires each law enforcement agency to have an investigative team to look into deaths involving a law enforcement officer employed by the agency. Reports of these investigations are to be made to a special board. SB 120 proposes another approach to such investigations. Another bill-SB 43-allows the Missouri Attorney General to investigate officer-involved deaths, while SB 21 requires the state attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to conduct an investigation when a law enforcement officer “uses deadly force upon another person or shoots and injures a person…”

Schools and Communities: Bills such as HB 71 and HB 72 seek to improve relationships between law enforcement and local schools and communities.

What’s next? We expect many more bills to be filed seeking to address the Ferguson controversy. Eventually, these bills will be referred to legislative committees, which can hold public hearings and amend and combine bills for reporting to the full legislative chambers for debate.

The MCC will be examining all of the Ferguson related legislation. We welcome input from any of our network members on the bills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *